Israel‘s second-largest bank, said on Wednesday it had sold a 6.904 percent stake in conglomerate Israel Corp for 707 million shekels ($182 million).
Leumi sold 531,550 shares at 1,333 shekels each, below Tuesday’s closing price of 1401 shekels. Israel Corp’s shares slid 7.1 percent on Wednesday to 1,301 shekels, while shares of Leumi dipped 0.3 percent. The sale of Israel Corp shares stemmed from a new competition law that will ban financial firms from holding more than 10 percent of non-financial ones. Leumi had owned an 18 percent stake in Israel Corp, the parent company of potash producer Israel Chemicals, chipmaker TowerJazz, Israel’s Oil Refineries and other companies. The shares were sold to financial institutions. Leumi said it will post a pre-tax gain of 530 million shekels in the first quarter from the sale. Last month, Leumi estimated its 2014 profit would be lowered by 250 million shekels due to a $400 million deduction taken by Israel Corp. Leumi now holds 11.1 percent of Israel Corp and said it would not sell any more shares until at least May 11. Israel Corp is in the middle of a restructuring in which it splitting the company into two. ($1 = 3.8861 shekels) (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen/Mark Heinrich)